MBA Demand Remains High According to GMAC’s Prospective Student Survey

by Personal MBA Coach, May 17, 2022

The Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) has yet again emphasized the demand for a business school education. In its new 2022 Prospective Student Survey, GMAC shared that the interest in business school is consistent with pre-pandemic levels. As the “Great Resignation” disrupts hiring markets, more young professionals are turning to MBA programs to change their career paths.

The findings in this survey come from responses from over 6,500 MBA hopefuls from 156 different countries. Of these respondents, 51% majored in a non-business field during their undergraduate studies and 41% identified as female.

Below, Personal MBA Coach has outlined some of the most noteworthy information from the new GMAC report.

Candidates continue to see an MBA as a way to stand out at work.

More than 4 in 5 candidates across the globe agree that an MBA helps you stand out professionally. This belief is the highest among those from India and the United States.

These perceptions are consistent with those held pre-pandemic, demonstrating the continued MBA demand among working professionals.

The full-time MBA program remains the most desirable format.

While there are many different types of MBA programs to fit candidates’ goals and lifestyles, full-time programs continue to gain the most attention.

In GMAC’s latest Prospective Student Survey, over 75% of the respondents considering an MBA shared that they wanted to go back to school full-time in either a one-year or two-year MBA program.

This interest in full-time MBA programs likely stems from prospective students’ desires to wholly immerse themselves in the business school experience. From summer internships to recruiting and networking opportunities, these programs enable students to grow significantly both professionally and personally.

Reputation and cost are key decision-making factors.

A school’s overall reputation and cost to attend influences decision-making more than before the pandemic. Full-time business school candidates have shared that they research MBA rankings “a lot.” (Wondering how much emphasis you should put on these rankings? Get Personal MBA Coach’s insight here.)

Cost is also a serious deciding factor. In fact, financial aspects are the number one factor for nearly a quarter of respondents (21%). While questioning the value of an MBA is natural, getting an MBA is almost always worth the cost, even for those who have strong pre-MBA salaries. Here, we have shared the top reasons why getting an MBA is worth it.

Plus, on average, Personal MBA Coach clients make money working with us since they receive far more in scholarships than they would on their own. Last cycle, our clients collectively earned an industry-leading $6.5M in scholarships!

Hybrid MBA programs are gaining momentum.

Not surprisingly, GMAC survey respondents reported that they saw more value in an in-person learning environment rather than an online one.

That said, interest in hybrid programs has risen to 20% (6% higher than pre-pandemic findings). As many professionals continue to work in hybrid formats, it is not surprising that a similar educational model has piqued the interest of some.

Although most candidates still appear skeptical of fully online MBA programs, not everyone is dismissive of them. About 1 in 5 feel that the networking opportunities are comparable and 1 in 3 agree that the career opportunities are equivalent.

Consulting continues to be the number one industry aspiration.

As found in pre-pandemic GMAC prospective student surveys, consulting remains the top industry of interest for MBA hopefuls. This applies to men and women alike, though men’s interest is a bit higher than women’s here.

For career switchers, consulting is the top job function (77%) that these folks want to break into.

For those business school applicants already coming from consulting backgrounds, keep in mind that this is a competitive applicant pool. Personal MBA Coach has shared our tips on how to set yourself apart from the crowd here.

Interest in tech is on the rise.

Aside from consulting, there appears to be growing interest in tech. Globally, the percentage of MBA candidates interested in tech grew from 36% to 39% from 2019 to 2021. While this is a relatively small jump, it is certainly still significant.

This growing interest is particularly high among women and non-business undergraduates.

Career goals vary among men and women.

The most popular career goals for prospective students are to secure a senior level position, get a raise or salary increase, secure an executive level position, manage people, manage projects, and work somewhere that allows them to travel internationally.

While more women are interested in raises, managing projects, and international travel, more men expressed interest in managing people and obtaining an executive level position.

Men’s heighted desire for top leadership positions was particularly evident in their goal of becoming a CEO (31% of male respondents versus 24% of female respondents).

Ready to make the leap and apply to business school? If late 2023 is shaping up to be a good time for you to become a student, now is the time to get started on your applications.

Check out Personal MBA Coach’s 5-month MBA application timeline and reach out if you would like to learn more about our customized application support.

About Personal MBA Coach:

Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach has been guiding clients for 15 years and is consistently ranked #1 or #2 by leading sources including Poets & Quants.

We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing, and mock interviews. Our team includes former M7 admissions directors and former M7 admissions interviewers.